After Aspen I came back to Portland and started helping a local artist, Becca Bernstein, construct a tree house in her front yard. The project was done with Build Something Together and took about a week to finish. It was a great project that has earned me a lifetime supply of jams, jellies and syrups.
By this point in the summer Elysia and I were able to go on our Midwest Tour to see all of the families. The first stop on the trip was Tyler Texas to see my mom, grandparents and high school friends. Mom put me to work painting her house while one of my best buddies, Cooper, was there--so I hired him to help. Cooper and I got the house painted in a few days and celebrated by going to see Inglorious Basterds two times on opening day. Elysia met me down there after a week and we spent the rest of our time there with family. Grandad and I did a project together about his birth house where we sketched what he remembered of the house and turned it into a 3D model. After the model was drawn we went to the house to see how close we had gotten. Results from this project are now up at the Autzen Gallery.
Papa and Grandad also took Elysia and I to the Oil Museum in Kilgore and to the New London Museum. The Oil Museum was an incredible place that described the big oil boom of Texas in great detail. The last section of the Museum was built up to look like a small town square area that had seen better days. The middle of the room was made to look like a mud pit road with horses, cars and people all trying to break free from the mud. One each side of the road were stores you could go into. There was an old grocery store, machine shop, print shop, barber, drug store, etc. Each of the stores was made to look exactly how they would have in the late 30’s. After seeing it I was inspired to send in a proposal to bring the Print Factory down to print there.
The New London Museum is dedicated to the New London school explosion of 1937. The story of this explosion is incredible and because we saw it after going to the Oil Museum it made even more sense. Both of the museums were about the late 30’s, but one was about success and the other was about destruction, both resulting from the discovery of oil. Grandad told me this was the largest explosion to date when it happened, and it was also Walter Cronkite’s first big story. I highly suggest reading the wiki link above to learn more about this. Another cool thing about this Museum was that my great cousin had a show there a year ago to show his life long collection of autographed memorabilia from famous people around the world.
After Texas, Elysia and I rode with mom up to Kansas City. We stayed there for a couple of days and got on a plane headed to Elysia's hometown of Minneapolis. While in Minneapolis I worked on getting some wood blocks carved out for the Print Factory at the Portland Art Museum and Elysia made some new Aprons for the Print Factory Crewmembers. Other than that we spent most of our time around Elysia's parent's house hanging out with everyone. We continued our 3-year ritual of going to the Minnesota State Fair, but this year we seemed to run out of steam a lot quicker than last year and I wasn’t able to win a big bear from the carnies.
When we got back to Portland we were in a mad dash to get everything ready for the Print Factory at the Portland Art Museum. Jesse and Will flew in from Kansas City to help with the event. It was nice to have a couple of my best friends out to visit us, and be part of the big West Coast Print Factory unveiling. The Print Factory handed out 50 free counterfeit tickets to the Art Museum starting at 6, and after we were done printing those we moved inside the sculpture garden to continue printing site-specific plates. In the end we handed out over 300 prints and had a very good time.
Right after that event the Print Factory Crew flew back to Kansas City to be part of the Belger Cartage’s 90th year anniversary celebration. Jesse works as the Art Preparator at the Belger, so he knew everything about the event. Out front there were two craines, one was holding a 1930’s fire engine 5 stories in the air under the classic Western Auto sign, and the other was holding a massive American flag over the train yard. We all made blocks relating to the Belger and their machinery, which went over extremely well with the crowd of Belger employees attending the celebration.
So that was my summer in a nutshell. I don’t feel like it was wasted working a part time job or running up my credit cards trying to live the unemployed lifestyle. It was an excellent experience that I am excited about trying again next summer.